Three Sri Lankan women, who allegedly tried to smuggle in gold, were apprehended by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel at Kempegowda International Airport (KIAL) here on Saturday night. Gold weighing 1.169 kg in the form of bullion and jewellery was recovered from them. The arrested women were identified as Nagoor Adumai Fatima (45), Ayub Fatima Roshana (43), and Mohammed Iftikhar Fahmeeda (48), who arrived on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL-173 from Colombo at 2.50 a.m.

The three women passed through immigration and Customs clearance but CISF personnel from the Crime and Intelligence Wing, who had been trailing them after they observed their suspicious behaviour, caught two of them when they were removing something from their shoes and transferring it to the handbag at the arrival terminal. All the three women were taken to the Customs interrogation room, where officials recovered the gold.

The gold haul comes close on the heels of a similar instance of gold smuggling by passengers arriving on Sri Lankan Airlines, which was busted at the airport here earlier this month. A security official and a manager with the Sri Lankan Airlines were found to be part of the smuggling ring.

Sources from the Crime and Intelligence Wing, CISF, KIAL, said that Sri Lanka had become the “new hub of gold smuggling” into the country. Earlier, gold smuggled from Sri Lanka used to land at Chennai International Airport, but the route appears to have changed and the smuggled gold is now landing at KIAL, as security has been tightened at the Chennai Airport, he said.

“Apart from the Customs officials, CISF men have now been posted to keep watch on flights on particular routes on which gold smuggling is rampant,” he said.

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